Helping people in a crisis

4 hours 57 minutes ago

In times of crisis, access to timely, actionable information is crucial. Working alongside trained responders and volunteers on the ground, technology plays a vital role in providing information to help keep you and loved ones safe and informed. SOS alerts is a new set of features in Google Search and Maps to help you quickly understand what’s going on and decide what to do during a crisis.

How SOS Alerts Work

During a crisis, you may see an SOS Alert at the top of search results when searching for the incident or location. You’ll see maps, top stories and—when available—authoritative local information such as emergency phone numbers, websites, and translations of useful phrases. Depending on how close you are to the affected area, you may also get a notification on your mobile device that directs you to this information.

If you’re outside of the affected area, you may still want information about the crisis. Searches for relevant terms (like the name of the event or the location) will also show an SOS Alert that provides a timely overview of the situation, in addition to features such as donation opportunities.

Google Maps on mobile can also show SOS Alerts. In Maps, you’ll see a specific icon on the map and a tappable card with more information about the crisis, such as helpful phone numbers and websites. The map will also include real-time updates, like road closures and traffic and transit updates.

As we’ve developed our crisis response products, we’ve worked closely with organizations and government agencies that are on the front lines of relief efforts, including the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and many others. "Radio and television were once the only channels to quickly provide information in an emergency, but the internet and mobile phones have become increasingly important,” said Robert Glenn, Director at FEMA.

In addition to SOS Alerts and other crisis response features—including Google Person Finder, Google Crisis Map and Google Public Alerts—our philanthropic arm Google.org provides grants and volunteers for communities impacted by crises. We hope you never need to use crisis response features, but if you do, they’re designed to help keep you, and those you love, safe and informed.

Manual Code Review Anti-Patterns

1 day 11 hours ago

Editorial Note: I originally wrote this post for the SubMain blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site. While you’re there, take a look around at some of the other posts and at their offerings. Today, I’d like to offer a somewhat lighthearted treatment to a serious topic.  I generally find that […]

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Erik Dietrich

DaedTech Now Brought to You Over SSL

4 days 9 hours ago

I’ve had an item on DaedTech’s Trello board for a good, long time now.  Switch over to using SSL.  And, fear not those of you who enjoy this blog!  You can now browse confidently, without worrying that some impostor is feeding you misinformation about expert beginners, journeyman idealists, and other random neologisms that come out of […]

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Erik Dietrich

A Look at the History of RDBMS

5 days 8 hours ago

Editorial Note: I originally wrote this post for the Monitis blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site.  While you’re there, take a look at Monitis’s offering for all things related to website and networking monitoring. If you had to pick a unifying technology to bring all developers together, then you could […]

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Erik Dietrich

Britain: back to being the sick man of Europe?

6 days 2 hours ago
IN THE 1970s, Britain was dubbed “the sick man of Europe”, a role previously played by the Ottoman empire in the late 19th century. A poor growth record since the second world war combined with terrible industrial relations (29m days lost to strikes in 1979) to make many ask the question “Is Britain governable?”.

Feed your need to know

6 days 7 hours ago

As the late, great Dr Seuss once said, “there is no one alive who is you-er than you.” At Google, we know this statement is truer than true. Sure, we all have many things in common, but none of us has quite the same mix of passions, interests and goals as the next person. And, while we each keep up to date on the things that matter to us in different ways—social media, news apps, talking to friends—it’s hard to find one place to stay in the know about exactly what matters to you. Today that’s changing.

People have long turned to Google to get answers, learn about the world, and dig deeper on topics they’re passionate about. Today, we are announcing a new feed experience in the Google app, making it easier than ever to discover, explore and stay connected to what matters to you—even when you don’t have a query in mind.

A smart feed that changes with you

Since introducing the feed in December, we’ve advanced our machine learning algorithms to better anticipate what’s interesting and important to you. You’ll see cards with things like sports highlights, top news, engaging videos, new music, stories to read and more. And now, your feed will not only be based on your interactions with Google, but also factor in what’s trending in your area and around the world. The more you use Google, the better your feed will be.

As the world and your interests change, your feed will continue to grow and evolve along with you. You’ll notice that your feed will also reflect your interest level for various topics—for example, if you’re a photography enthusiast but just casually interested in fitness, your feed will show that. But if you see something that isn’t up your alley, unfollowing topics is easy too. Just tap on a given card in your feed or visit your Google app settings.

Follow your favorites

While we’ve been getting better at understanding your interests, it hasn’t always been easy for you to choose new topics for your feed. To help you keep up with exactly what you care about, you’ll now be able to follow topics, right from Search results. Look out for a new “Follow” button next to certain types of search results—including movies, sports teams, your favorite bands or music artists, famous people, and more. A quick tap of the the follow button and you’ll start getting updates and stories about that topic in your feed.


Broader context and deeper exploration

To provide information from diverse perspectives, news stories may have multiple viewpoints from a variety of sources, as well as other related information and articles. And when available, you’ll be able to fact check and see other relevant information to help get a more holistic understanding about the topics in your feed.


We’re also making it easier to dive deeper into any of the topics you see in your feed. At the top of every card, you’ll see a header that puts your interests front and center, letting you search that topic on Google with one tap.

Get more of the stuff you care about

With these updates to the feed, it’s easier than ever to stay in the know about exactly the things you care about and see more content to inform, inspire and entertain you. You’ll spend less time and energy trying to keep up with your interests and more time enjoying and cultivating them. Whether you’re a pet-loving, Nietzsche-reading, sports fanatic; a hip-hop head and burgeoning brewmaster; or anything in between, your feed should fit your fancy.


The new feed experience is available in the Google app for Android (including the Pixel Launcher) and iOS, launching today in the U.S. and rolling out internationally in the next couple of weeks. Just open the Google app and scroll up to get started.

We’ll leave you with some final words from Dr. Seuss: "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

Static Analysis to Hide My Ignorance about Global Concerns

6 days 10 hours ago

Editorial Note: I originally wrote this post for the SubMain blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site.  While you’re there, take a look at CodeIt.Right to help you automate elements of your code reviews. “You never concatenate strings.  Instead, always use a StringBuilder.” I feel pretty confident that any C# developer that […]

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Erik Dietrich

How to Analyze a Static Analyzer

1 week ago

Editorial Note: I originally wrote this post for the NDepend blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site.  While you’re there, take a look around at some of the other posts, and sign up for the RSS feed, if you’re so inclined. First things first.  I really wanted to call this post, […]

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Erik Dietrich

The High Five: The Seven Kingdoms at war and Floridians band together

1 week 3 days ago

This week, we’re eagerly awaiting the return of “Game of Thrones,” where some alliances come together like Floridians at the beach and others break off like the Larsen C ice shelf. Here are five of this week’s top searches, with data from Google News Lab.

My search has just begun

The Great War is here, and ahead of the “Game of Thrones” season seven premiere, fans are getting ready for the episodes to come (some context: for the weeks leading up to their final seasons, “Game of Thrones” was searched 300% more than “Breaking Bad,” and 1000% more than “Mad Men”). GoT’s most searched creatures are “dragons,” “direwolves” and “three-eyed raven,” and Jon Snow was the most searched character, followed by Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons. And of last night, the internet is fired up about another queen, Mother of Twins.

In queso you hadn’t heard…

Chipotle introduced a new cheese dip this week, making “queso” a more popular search term than other dips, like hummus and guacamole. Cheese lovers turned to Google to scoop up answers to their questions, including “Is Chipotle queso gluten free?” and “Is Chipotle queso good?” For those who prefer homemade queso, the top searched queso recipes this week were white queso, queso fundido, queso fresco and chili con queso.

Humanity at its finest

In Panama City, 80 Florida beachgoers banded together to save a drowning family in a rip current, leading people to search for “human chain Panama city beach.” Search interest in rip currents currents swells every July with related questions like, “what to do in a riptide” and “how to spot a riptide.”

Chilling news

This week a trillion ton iceberg separated from the Larsen C Ice shelf in Antarctica, forming one of the largest icebergs ever recorded. Top searched questions include, “Where will Larsen C go?” and “What will happen when Larsen C raises sea levels?” This great frozen schism caused search interest  in “climate change” to spike by 195 percent, reaching its highest point this month.

Let’s take a selfie

… said a monkey. And now a federal appeals court in California is expected to rule whether that monkey can sue over the rights to its selfie. It’s bananas! Even with all the hype about the selfie-taking monkey this week, “dog selfie” was still a more popular search term than “monkey selfie.”

Growing the Ideas from the Developer Hegemony Book

1 week 4 days ago

Happy reader question Friday, everyone.  Today, I’ll field a question about the Developer Hegemony book.  For any newer readers, I wrote this book over the last couple of years and published it to Amazon in early May.  For a briefer synopsis of its purpose and message, you can check out this announcement post. The question […]

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Erik Dietrich

Growing the Ideas from the Developer Hegemony Book

1 week 4 days ago

Happy reader question Friday, everyone.  Today, I’ll field a question about the Developer Hegemony book.  For any newer readers, I wrote this book over the last couple of years and published it to Amazon in early May.  For a briefer synopsis of its purpose and message, you can check out this announcement post. The question […]

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Erik Dietrich

Reserve with Google: Summer bookin’, happens so fast

1 week 5 days ago

Whether you’re headed to a backyard barbecue or an all-day beach party, Google is here to help you get ready. Starting today, you can book appointments at spas and salons across the U.S. on Google. So that fresh haircut or palm tree-green mani is only a couple taps away.

To get started, find your favorite salon or spa on Google Maps or Search and look for the “book” button on the business listing. You can also visit the Reserve with Google site to browse recommendations for businesses you never knew were just around the corner.  

This feature is made possible through partnerships with the top scheduling providers you might already use, including Genbook, SalonRunner, Rosy, Yocale and WellnessLiving. And soon we’ll be adding many more, including Booksy, Envision, MyTime, Schedulicity, Setmore, Shore, SimpleSpa, SuperSalon and TimeTrade.  

You can already book fitness classes with Google right from Search and Maps–and you can expect to find more types of bookable services in the future–so look forward to even more help crossing things off your to-do list.

Add Custom Content to Your Documentation

1 week 5 days ago

Editorial note: I originally wrote this post for the SubMain blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site.  While you’re there, have a look at GhostDoc not only to help you with comment management and generation, but also to help you construct automated help documentation. For the last several years, I’ve made […]

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Erik Dietrich

Add Custom Content to Your Documentation

1 week 5 days ago

Editorial note: I originally wrote this post for the SubMain blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site.  While you’re there, have a look at GhostDoc not only to help you with comment management and generation, but also to help you construct automated help documentation. For the last several years, I’ve made […]

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Erik Dietrich

Keep up with the Tour—or create your own—with Search and Maps

1 week 5 days ago

The 104th edition of cycling’s most famous Grand Tour is well underway, with nearly 200 riders from around the world racing through 3,540 kilometers of the French countryside for the coveted yellow jersey. We’ve made a few tune-ups to Google Search to help you keep up with every stage of the Tour. And if the grueling mountain climbs inspire rather than intimidate you, hit the road on your own two wheels with Google Maps biking directions as your guide.

Now globally on the Google app for Android and iOS and the mobile web, when you search for Tour de France (or a similar query) on Google, you’ll see detailed information about the race and athletes as well as see the latest news stories. Most notably, you’ll also see the current standings of the race, which show jersey holders along with stage-by-stage results. As an added bonus, you’ll also have access to real-time update posts from the Tour de France directly in the search results.

Not everyone has the chance to make that triumphant roll down the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. Lucky for us mere mortals, Google Maps makes it easy to find the best bike routes to let our inner cyclist shine—or just get from point A to point B.

To get bike directions on Google Maps, just enter your destination and tap on the bike icon. We give route suggestions based on the availability of dedicated bike trails in the area, and when possible we prioritize those routes. In case you’re not aiming to be “King of the Mountains,” we factor in variables like hills as well as size of the road, availability of bike lanes, and number of turns.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to map out your own path, the bike layer will show color-coded routes according to their suitability for biking: dark green indicates a dedicated bike-only or multi-use trail; lighter green indicates a dedicated bike lane along a road; and a dotted green line indicates roads that don’t have bike lanes but tend to be more suitable for biking. To turn on the bike layer, tap the button above the compass icon and then tap the bike icon (on iOS) or open the main menu and then tap the bike icon (on Android).

Now grab your helmet, pump up your tires, and hit those hills!

How to Write Test Cases

1 week 6 days ago

Editorial note: I originally this post for the Stackify blog.  You can check out the original here, at their site.  While you’re there, check out Stackify’s APM offering. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I have a good bit of experience writing unit tests.  In fact, I’ve managed to parlay this experience into a […]

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Erik Dietrich